A group of small and medium-size South Australian businesses plan to launch a first-of-its-kind power trading platform using blockchain technology in an attempt to save money and buy and sell local clean energy. Blockchain-based microgrid developer LO3 Energy, of New York, is working on the project with solar and electrical firm Yates Electrical Services, of Paringa, South Australia, a region known for its vineyards, almond and fruit orchards — and incredibly high electricity prices.

The blockchain, perhaps best known as the technology behind the digital currencies Bitcoin and Etherium, is a decentralized ledger that enables and tracks all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. The technology uses encryption to ensure that transactions and data are secure, and provides verification and validation to users.

The technology is still quite new and a variety of companies and organizations are setting up blockchain platforms to carry out simple applications, such as making secure, real-time payments and documenting business transactions. The Rocky Mountain Institute’s Energy Web Foundation recently launched the first open-source blockchain for the energy sector, called Tobalaba.

Big energy companies including Shell, Engie and Tokyo Electric Power Co. are partnering on the effort and using the platform to submit transactions, write smart contracts and/or validate transactions.

Meanwhile, in South Australia, a sharp rise in retail electricity prices, an ample supply of wind and solar power, and a frontier, can-do spirit of innovation are fueling the creation of a blockchain energy trading platform that may be similar to Tobalaba, though smaller in scale. “The intention is to give power and choice back to the customer with what they do with renewable energy, whether it’s battery or solar,” said Mark Yates, managing director of Yates Electrical. Read more from greenbiz.com…

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